Recent deaths highlight importance of seat belts

5 San Antonio motorists who died in accidents in recent days weren't wearing them


According to texasclickitorticket.com, more than 93 percent of Texans wear their seat belts -- good enough to rank 7th in the nation.

"I believe that you never know when any accident is going to happen, and I want to take care of myself and my family," said one motorist Friday afternoon.

A rash of deaths on local roads involving people not wearing their seat belts in recent days reminds us of the importance of their usage.

"Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of being injured or killed in a car crash by up to 50 percent," said Joel Camarano, executive vice president of auto underwriting for USAA.

After briefly surveying motorists Friday afternoon, none were found who weren't wearing their seat belt, but a few weren't wearing them properly.

"Its really uncomfortable because it rides up on my neck," said one motorist, who was wearing the shoulder harness behind her, rather than over her shoulder and chest.

Three of the motorists who died in recent crashes were in their teens.

"Teens generally have historically had the lowest use of seat belt usage while driving of any group," said Camarano.

How do parents get their teens in the habit of wearing their seat belts?

"As a parent, the first thing you can do is exhibit safe driving habits yourself, because they are watching. So put on your seat belt. Put the phone down. Drive slower and and you are more than likely to help your teenager exhibit those same safe driving habits," Camarano said.

If that's not enough of an incentive, perhaps the hit you can take in your wallet will be.

The fine for not putting on your seat belt can be up to $250.